Club Race Walnut Trail 5K By Ryan Vieau

First off, thanks to Greg Hanssen, the ‘test team of May 31st’ and Mike Friedl for making this happen.  Very unique yet effective way to finish off our abbreviated 2019/2020 Grand Prix season!

We all met up at the 6:45 time, give or take and significantly spread out to be safe, to get the lowdown on the race route, the starting times/directions, and scoring. Props to Gary Hefner, Amy Dayao, Fred Cowles and Noreene Matsuda for the moral support and making sure we didn’t run right off the halfway turn-around point from a force of habit from our Thursday evening runs!

Greg Hanssen sitting in a folding chair
Photo By Amy Dayao

The race was perfect temps, a little overcast and humid, but no blazing sun to deal with. At a 7AM start time we didn’t have to dodge too many dog walkers, cyclists or others out for a stroll on the Walnut Trail. Yay!

I believe we had 23 total participants and it was great to see everyone try to get back into a normal race under abnormal circumstances, and get some communal cheers from their SCRR buddies when dashing off from the start or burning in past the finish line. 

Mike Friedl with clipboard with his son Luke standing next to him
Photo By Amy Dayao

Our Racemaster Mike Friedl (who else?) started us off at 30 second gaps so we wouldn’t be huffing and puffing the exhaust of the racers in front of us.  We had plenty of room to ourselves, and in most cases to see the runner in front of us as a Rabbit, but in my instance I’m convinced Fernando Gonzales was an entire ZIP code in front of me, hauling the mail!

The route and turn-around point just shy of Sand Canyon Avenue was spot-on—you actually could notice the ever so slight downhill on the return leg as opposed to the first 1.5 miles. Thankfully our start/finish point had ample room so we could spread out to cool down before or after our respective races. 

Times will be posted on the SCRR Grand Prix page on and any future Grand Prix Races for the 2020/20201 season will be posted up on the FB Members Only Page once we get all the finer details sorted out.

Great racing SCRR, looking forward to more competitive events here soon!

Fly Like an Eagle Coast-to-Coast Relay By Nicole Herold

I feel very lucky to work for First American, a title insurance company with many divisions that support the home-buying cycle and hundreds of offices around the country. Started in 1889 when Orange county split from Los Angeles county, First American has been run by the same family since its inception, which has led to a family-like company culture that lends itself to fun group activities and spirited competitions.

Another aspect of the culture is a focus on community service and fundraising for worthy causes during times of crisis (e.g. Red Cross during wild fires, OC Food Bank for boxing holiday meals, and now a PTO donation option). Last but not least there is an emphasis on healthy living with cash and prizes for working out in all ways.

Start written on the pavement with orange chalk

A few years ago all those things came together when FirstAm sponsored 2 Ragnar teams, made up of employees from across the country, at the same race. The interest was overwhelming, and the 24 people chosen from the pool of applicants were lucky to be showered w/ fun swag and travel to all get to the starting line. Those 2 teams also raised close to $50K for charity. Since then there have been 2 teams sponsored for 2 Ragnar races a year with many more dollars raised.

As we all know, this year is different, and races have been cancelled. Fun and running, however, have not.

There’s no reason that we can’t host our own private races, as the Grand Prix Committee has shown, and that’s just what FirstAm did. As with past races, this one was associated with a charity goal – raising as much as we could for Feeding America Covid-19 Relief. Our executive sponsor even threw in his own $5000 to match our first $5000 donated by employees, friends, and family to encourage everyone to open his wallet.

Nicole and rubber duckies in front of Dana Point Ocean Institute

On June 20th I participated in the “Fly Like an Eagle (our company mascot/logo) Coast-to-Coast Virtual Relay”. There were 6 teams with 12 members who each ran a 10K and 2 teams of 12 members who each walked a 5K. We had about 12 hours to complete all the legs.

Start time: 6am. Teams included people from across time zones, had a volunteer or two to help track runners and time, and a Team Captain who rallied us to show our team spirit (Go Team Orange!) and encourage us as we trained and raced.

This was my first virtual race and I was a bit skeptical about how successful a relay could be, but since there was no timing chip there was no pressure to do anything but have fun. The organizing committee, which had previously managed the Ragnar race teams, had it down pat.

Everyone used GroupMe, an app for group chats, and joined one chat for all teams and another just for our own team. It was a great way to communicate, as well as share videos and pictures.

Nicole showing her relay wrist bracelet

People did not waste any time texting either. I was not expecting that much discussion on anything and everything for the weeks leading up to the race. My guess is that working from home gave everyone a lot more leeway to be social during work hours. We even had an online virtual pep rally!

Sure we had the typical run down of how race day was going to go, but the team captains (on video) introduced us via PowerPoint slides and seemed to have their own competition for who could represent their team spirit the best. There were funny hats, glasses, & outfits, home office decorations, banners, and more all in the team color. Team Champagne definitely had a decorating edge with balloons to represent bubbles and champagne bottles, both real and inflatable, not to mention a team drink that the rest of us wanted.

Our team captain was like a pro and she had all of our paces and estimated total run times in a spreadsheet so we could know exactly when each person started and ended based on the runner order. We had it down to the minute.

Race day coincided with our Ship-to-Rails club run, which I was leading, so I requested an early leg. As Runner 2, I followed someone who ran a 10 minute mile, which meant I was able to sneak in the 10K starting about 7am and returning just before the start of our 8am kick-off. It was perfect timing.

Race day came and I was prepared. I knew that any pictures I shared with the team could be posted to our company intranet and advertised company-wide. No pressure!

Hippy rubber duckies on the pavement

That gave me lots of motivation to get to the harbor early enough to draw a chalk start and finish line (in orange, natch) and pose for pictures with the swag we got – a neon slap bracelet and 2 hippy rubber duckies, my “peeps”. Of course I wore orange.

My phone started blowing up with texts early because the East Coast runners from the other teams had started, and I saw how many stops people were making along the way to snap pics and post. When I added in minutes for Runner 1 to do the same, I got nervous that I might not have enough time to finish before 8.

So, I decided to jump the gun and start before the official hand-off. Who would know if I don’t post to the group text, right? (A benefit of not being on Strava where everyone was tracking each other.

Michael Tang was kind enough to join me as we headed through the harbor area and Doheny Beach then up the San Juan Creek Trail for an out and back 6.2. I don’t normally run with my phone, but I had to keep an eye out for the actual hand-off to post my start (I was about a mile in at that point).

Finish written on the pavement in orange chalk

Running and posting while trying to keep pace was definitely a challenge. Michael was patient as I dealt with technology and the perfect photographer to capture me hanging off the Doheny sign so I could post it as my “1 mile to go” warning for the next runner in the relay. We made it back in time and I posted my finish line photo so that Runner 3 could start.

Once I was done and on to the club run without my phone, I disconnected from the team chatter and left the relay behind. Later in the day when I checked the app again I did what I could to catch up on the 300 texts I missed!

Overall I’d say that the camaraderie we fostered during the buildup to the race was great for me to get to know others in my company who I hadn’t previously met, and the $31K we raised was heartwarming, but the virtual aspect of racing isn’t for me. Hopefully, once racing starts again, I’ll join my company for a Ragnar in an area of the country where I haven’t raced to enjoy my co-workers and other competitors in real life.

Sourdough Baking By Amy Katz Featuring Fernando Gonzalez

When I polled members about what they have been doing while staying at home, many answered that they have been spending more time in the kitchen. And one of the most popular things people are experimenting with is sourdough bread.

Fernando Gonzalez is one member who has been working on his sourdough skills. He told me he has watched several YouTube vloggers and tried a few different recipes from websites.

He found the best results by using the method outlined in My Sourdough Bread With A “Young” Levain from the website The Perfect Loaf.

Loaf of sourdough bread
Sourdough bread baked by Fernando Gonzalez

If you haven’t tried baking this delicious bread yet, start off by making your own sourdough starter. And you can use the discard to make pizza crust, pretzels, and brownies!

Have you been baking sourdough? Leave a link to your favorite recipe in the comments!

Treasurer’s Report By David Paul

Total Cash Balance, Beginning  3,742.63
Cash Inflows 1124.42
Cash Outflows-First Thursday
Cash Outflows-RRCA Insurance
Cash Outflows-Banquet
Cash Outflows-Uniforms
Cash Outflows-Social Gatherings
Cash Outflows-Other 75.00
Net Change in Cash   1,049.42
Total Cash Balance, Ending 4792.05


  • Inflows: A few memberships and a $912.00 Refund from Nicole for the deposit for the banquet.
  • Outflows: Gift cards from A Snail’s Pace.

10% Discount at A Snail's Pace Running Shop

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